Donald Trump has a history of mixed messages, especially on COVID-19. This latest reflects, again, his unwillingness to alienate his voter base, despite his decision to try to support the vaccination program.
Remember, last time Trump told a crowd of his fans to get vaccinated, they booed and jeered at him. That’s not a reaction he particularly seems to enjoy. So, when Fox‘s Greg Gutfield asked him how he’d convince a skeptic — specifically, Gutfield’s wife — to get vaccinated, the ex-president seemed to find himself trying to balance two opposing messages.
Gutfeld asks Trump what he'd say to Gutfeld's wife to try to convince her to get vaccinated (he announces she's unvaccinated). Trump responds by saying he recommends she get vaccinated but if she doesn't want to, that's okay too. pic.twitter.com/rrn010vS4o
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 9, 2021
Trump reminded viewers that he is vaccinated, and credits the vaccines with saving “millions and millions” of lives, but also declares Gutfield’s wife “very smart,” and the two joke that “you can’t argue with a Russian.”
Ultimately, Trump tells Gutfield to “let her do what she wants.”
He does return to touting the effectiveness of the vaccine, especially in terms of keeping people out of hospitals in ICUs, before again concluding that Gutfield should leave his wife’s decision alone.
“And now, if you’re vaccinated — the other thing it shows, is that if you do get sick you don’t get sick like they were before, meaning you don’t die. So I would recommend, but I also say that, let her have her freedoms. You know the word freedom, right?”
Hospitals are facing the crisis short-staffed, with all their ICU beds filled, and Health Systems Tracker estimates that over 100k hospitalizations in June and July could have been prevented by vaccination.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com